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One-Thing Thursday Archive
One thing you can do...

Reuse the wire frame on your holiday wreath.
January 7, 2010
Many of us displayed beautiful wreaths during the holiday season. Now that New Year's has passed, we're ready to take down the decorations. Before you toss an entire wreath in the garbage, consider an alternative. Reuse the wire frame to design and create next year's wreath.
The first step is to pull the greenery out of the current frame and place it in the compost pile or yard debris can. Place the wire frame and any pine cones, bows, or silk flowers in a safe, dry place to reuse next year.
Elaine Schacher, a Facilities Division staff member, saves her wire frames and makes new wreaths each year. She finds it a great way to save money and resources, and create one-of-a-kind decorations for her home. She has offered to help anyone who would like some tips or has questions.
More ideas: Decorative Wreaths 

Make one of your new year's resolutions to live more sustainably in 2010.
December 31, 2009
Here are some ideas: 
  • Eat produce grown at local farms.
  • Ride a bike or walk to work. Start with once or twice a month and increase it to once or twice a week by next year.
  • Take a shorter shower. Turn off the water while you lather up. 
  • Keep a reusable shopping bag in your car. 
More information: http://greenliving.suite101.com/article.cfm/a_more_sustainable_2007 or

Simplify your holiday to reduce stress.
December 24, 2009
The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, but it’s also a time of stress. In fact, up to 90% of Americans find the whole season stressful! Much of this stress comes from trying to create the picture-perfect holiday meals that grace the covers of magazines. Simplify your plans. Relax and enjoy the time with family or friends.
In addition, the holiday season can be lonely for many people. Watch for co-workers in need of friendship or a shoulder to lean on.
More information: http://stress.about.com/od/holidaysurvivalguide/Holiday_Survival_Guide_Manage_Stress_and_Simplify_Your_Holiday_Season.htm

Make your own Halloween costumes.
October 29, 2009
Every year manufacturers use resources and Americans spend millions of dollars on costumes that last one night. A great way to save money, time, and resources could be to make your own costume. Here are a few tips:
  1. Cardboard or papier-mâché make great props to accompany costumes.
  2. Plan costumes for your events.
  3. Costumes should be comfortable and easy to maneuver.
More ideas: http://www.mahalo.com/how-to-make-your-own-halloween-costumes or http://www.robinsfyi.com/holidays/halloween/costumes.htm

Enjoy a sustainable Halloween.
October 22, 2009
Halloween is just around the corner. Besides ghoulish good fun, it also means lots of waste from costumes, parties and candy wrappers. What’s a sustainably-minded person to do to eliminate the garbage, but still enjoy the holiday at work and home? Try these suggestions:
  • Have children carry pillow cases or canvas bags when trick-or-treating, rather than single-use bags.
  • Make costumes from items around the house that can be reused later (see next week's One-Thing Thursday for more costume ideas).
  • If you keep a candy dish at work, fill it with bulk candy (and a serving spoon), rather than individually-wrapped items.
  • Compost pumpkins, gourds, and other natural Halloween decorations.

Enjoy a sustainable Fourth of July holiday.
July 2, 2009
Sustainability can't exist without community. The Fourth of July reminds us how we’re united and connected. The following list contains several things that can build a sustainable community and celebrate our "interdependence," this week and all year. 
  • Invite your neighbors over. Create a local tradition to visit around holidays, birthdays, graduations, etc.
  • Make a list of activities that you can walk or bike to, and take trips with local friends or neighbors. 
  • Start a neighborhood book club, discussion circle or movie group. 
More information:

Celebrate Earth Day on April 22.
April 16, 2009
Earth Day occurs on April 22 as an event to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the Earth's environment. U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson created the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, as an environmental teach-in. The United States continues to observe this date. Other parts of the world celebrate Earth Day at different times. In the southern hemisphere, people celebrate during autumn. The United Nations celebrates an annual Earth Day on the March equinox.
More information: http://www.earthday.net
Discover sustainable ways to celebrate spring.
April 9, 2009
Instead of hard-boiled eggs, choose plastic, resuable eggs and fill with bulk candy (without wrappers). Store the eggs and reuse them year after year. Help your children make eggs out of materials around your home and fill them with goodies. Or, spare the sweet tooth and start a new holiday tradition. Enjoy a picnic or other outdoor event that affords quality time with family and friends.
Sustainable Valentine's Day ideas.
February 12, 2009
Send your sweetie gorgeous organic roses. Make a valentine collage out of pictures from that stack of magazines you haven't taken to the recycling center. Find a restaurant that serves locally grown and organic cuisine for your Valentine's Day dinner. Take your valentine to the ice or roller rink for a couple's skate. Valentine's Day is this Saturday and you know that most cards and boxes of candy are not very sustainable.
Many Web sites offer organic and fair trade gifts for this holiday. From home, surf using “sustainable Valentine’s Day” and you’ll find something.

Sustainable wrapping ideas.
December 24, 2008
Wrap one or more of the gifts in a pretty pillow case or a simple but elegant cotton table cloth or napkin. Wrap gifts for kids in a cute T-shirt or tuck small gifts into a crazy pair of socks. People use a lot of gift wrap and ribbon to wrap holiday gifts — pretty, but also "pretty" wasteful. 
Submitted by Conda Walsh, Facilities Division  

Reuse the holiday cards you received last year.
December 11, 2008
Every holiday season, Americans send out 4 billion cards. Christmas cards account for 60 percent of annual card sales in the U.S. While cards are nice to send and receive, most of them end up in the garbage or recycle bin. Why not reuse them instead?
Create your own card by cutting and pasting parts of old cards onto a new blank card. You can find packages of blank cards at most arts and crafts stores. Use old holiday cards as gift tags by cutting them into square or rectangular shapes and punching holes in the corners for string or ribbon. Make placemats out of holiday cards instead of buying new ones. Cut out pictures or shapes from old cards, place them between two pieces of contact paper and press together. Save holiday cards for arts and crafts throughout the year, especially if you have children.
More information: http://www.ehow.com/how_9171_recycle-reuse-holiday.html

Consolidate your holiday shopping trips.
December 4, 2008
This year as you rush around to complete your holiday shopping, you can help your stress level and the environment. Shop with a friend and consolidate their trips as well. With a little forethought and planning you can save time, gas, money, and your sanity. 

Reduce waste at Thanksgiving.
November 27, 2008
While Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday to share with family and friends, it can also be a time of great waste. We cook too much food, spend lots of money on centerpieces that we use one time, "stress" about home décor, and buy a whole new outfit to look our best in family pictures. This year, go back to the roots of the holiday and keep things simple and fun. 
Decorate with pine cones, fir tree boughs or other items found in your yard. Better yet, make the decorations a family project and involve your kids. Buy local and organic food to serve for your meal. This helps the environment and our neighbors. While Thanksgiving is usually about a big meal, don’t cook more than you need. If you end up with more than you can eat, take some to the local mission to share with others.   
More sustainable Thanksgiving ideas:  http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/media/press/2007/WWFPresitem1674.html

Eliminate the use of single-service candy with wrappers for trick-or-treaters.
October 30, 2008
Choose another option. Some people hand out coins, pencils, stickers, small coloring books, seed packets or other trinkets. Even flea-market finds and freebies sent by charities or picked up at special-events (pens, little gadgets, stamps, etc.) can make fun Halloween giveaways, if you keep children's tastes in mind. 
More information: http://greenliving.suite101.com/article.cfm/spooked_by_halloween_waste_junk

Make use of all pumpkin parts.
October 23, 2008
After Halloween, most Americans throw their carved pumpkin into the garbage. After carving a pumpkin, make sure to save the seeds. Bake them and serve them to party guests or feed them to our fine feathered friends, the birds. Compost the shell or place in your yard debris can.